Tech Tools: Drop It Like It’s Hot

Summer 2016

Photo of CEAST 9350 Drop TowerWe’ve all seen movies where an asteroid collision is avoided because it was demolished in space. But could that actually happen? How does an asteroid absorb energy when hit? How does it break apart? Researchers within the university’s Hopkins Extreme Materials Institute are on a mission to protect people, structures, and the planet by analyzing how materials fail under impact.

HEMI recently purchased an Instron CEAST 9350 Drop Tower to aid in this research. The tower can impact materials at speeds from 2 to 55 miles per hour while manipulating the kinetic energy of the impact with weights. Using high-speed cameras and load cells with the tower, HEMI researchers will be able to test everything from rock and tissue samples to materials that protect U.S. Army soldiers. The drop tower has been installed in Malone Hall and is ready for use by the end of this summer.